Equality 7-2521 wrote:Thanks, Luo!
The epidemiological process is based on scientific inquiry.
Experimental design is an event that uses scientific inquiry to design experiments.
However, epidemiology (as far as I understand it so far) cannot be run as an experiment- you can't always control and assign all variables.
So how does this all relate?
Ideally, epidemiologists would be able to use experiments. However, this would be unethical in most cases - for example, you couldn't willfully expose people to a suspected contaminated food to see if they contract an illness. Thus, epidemiologists are usually limited to using observational studies (cohort, case control, cross-sectional, etc.) and making only inferences about causation. These inferences can be based in part on risk ratios, odds ratios, and several other statistics commonly used by epidemiologists. You'll often have confounding variables, so problem-solving will be required to make the strongest inference possible about the cause/source of a given disease. Though this most likely transcends the realm of the Disease Detectives event, such problem-solving is based on a robust working knowledge of the dynamics of the specific disease and of human-geographical/environmental patterns in the given area.
To answer your question, scientific inquiry can go beyond just experimentation - into the realm of rigorous observational studies and inference as well. This type of scientific inquiry is what must be applied in Disease Detectives. Hope this helps!